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A social practice can be viewed as that practice observed in the society though without any legal foundation. In the American culture, there are a number of social practices in which people are engaged in their lives. Some of them are occasional while others are demonstrated in their day to day practices. A social practice is that activity in which people are involved into without any legal direction, but as a custom. A person usually tends to engage in these activities continuously.
One of the common social practices in the American culture is the Santa Claus myth. Santa is a figure who is very common in American culture. It is more prevalent in the northern American culture. Santa Claus is believed to bring gifts in the houses of the good children on the night before the Christmas day. Santa Claus can be related with a historical figure known as Saint Nicholas who was widely known as a gift giver.
In American culture, there are a number of things in which Americans are involved in by custom rather than by law. People are engaged in such practices in their day to day activities. One of these social practices is Saint Claus’ Myth. Over the past, the practice has been integrated in people’s activities through the customs.
The Origin of Saint Claus Myth
In the contemporary American culture, the belief in Saint Claus has significantly influenced how the Americans have been celebrating the Christmas day. Over the past, the phenomenon of Santus Claus has been integrated in the American culture. Many children have been introduced to the belief in Santus Claus as soon as they reach the interaction stage where they can understand their environment.
As already noted, Santus Claus phenomena can be traced back to Saint Nicholas. Nicholas is one of the most beloved saints among all the saints of the times (Bucher Richard Par 6). Most of the churches (both from Western and Eastern) accorded him great respect than any other saint, for instance, Justinian who was an emperor built a church in honor of him (Allhoff and Lowe 107).
According to Siefker (2006), the idea of Santa Claus in America can be traced back in the seventeenth century when the Dutch established their colony in America (10).
The Dutch came along with the idea of the Sinter Klass (Saint Nicholas). After some time, the colony was taken from them and the place was renamed New York. However, the English children longed to have their own Sinter Class through which they can be able to receive gifts. However, the day was changed to December 24 because the English Protestants did not recognize saint days.
In the past, there have been several legends that during the feast of Nicholas, he would come from heavens and visit children in their homes taking gifts to them (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 35). It was believed that he would reward the good children. The legends also had it that he distributed gifts to the people through windows (Allhoff and Lowe 106).
Dr. Clement played an important role in shaping the modern version of Santa Claus in America (Bucher Richard Par). For instance, he wrote a poem about Santa which has been cited over the past. Through his poems, Moore has significantly influenced the contemporary version of Santa.
For instance, he described the way Santa comes at night through the chimney where he leaves behind toys (Moore & Pomaska 2000). The poem also reveals that Santa always carried a bundle of toys in his back. These legends about Santa are powerful in moving the emotions of young children in America.
From the above description, it can clearly be seen that Santa Claus came up as a way to recognize the works of Saint Nicholas. Wernecke (1959) observed that Saint Nicholas received a high degree of veneration among the people because of the good deeds that he had done during his time (46). He was associated with good practices. As a result people developed a myth, which developed with time. This acts to remember his deeds.
In the society, there are a number of measures that are taken in order to encourage children to behave in socially accepted way. However, some children still remained arrogant and did not conform appropriately. Therefore, parents had to seek for other ways through which to encourage children to behave appropriately as required from them.
Santa Claus was one of the ways that parents seek to use. Therefore, parents encouraged their children to behave well so that they can receive gifts from Santus on Christmas day. It could therefore be explained as a mean to the ends.
From this discussion, it can clearly be seen that the phenomena of Santa Claus is very common even in the contemporary American culture because it plays a pivotal role in regulating children’s behavior. Therefore, children are introduced to this phenomenon as soon as they begin to socialize with others in the community. In most cases, children have a strong believe on the phenomena such that it causes trauma when they are convinced that it is not true.
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Another reason for the Santa Claus phenomena could be abolishment of the Saint Nicholas Feast in sixteenth century (Bucher Richard Par 15). Before its abolishment, people were observing it with respect for the saint. As a result, people developed the phenomena where the practices of the saint could be remembered through generations.
In conclusion, this discussion has revealed that the phenomena of Santa Claus emerged from the history of Nicholas. Nicholas was one of the most famous saints of the times. He was famous among both the western and the eastern churches.
Santus Claus phenomena are of great importance in upbringing of the children. As already noted many children believe and are convinced that they will one day receive gifts from him. Since Santa gives the gifts only to the good children, they will strive to behave well in order to get the gifts. Therefore, the phenomena play an important role in behavior regulation among the children.
This project has significantly changed the way I thought about the topic. For instance, this project has helped me to identify the fact that the phenomena of Santa Claus are related with religious aspects. For instance, Saint Nicholas was involved in religious activities.
This has changed my personal conviction that Santa Claus is related with paganism. During Christmas, there are very many celebrations. Santa Claus could be one of the fun customs in which people are engaged in just for fun. It is observed because it provides fun hence making the Christmas cerebration livelier.
Allhoff Fritz, Lowe Scott C. Christmas – Philosophy for Everyone: Better Than a Lump of Coal. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2010.
This book is written by Allhoff and Lowe who have taken an intensive study on the philosophy of Christmas. The information written is therefore based on scientific research.
Bucher Richard. “The Origin of Santa Claus and the Christian Response to Him.” Orlutheran, 1999. Web.
This article is written through the Lutheran church. The church has intensive investigation on the past history and how it is related with the church.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Social Sciences for Knowledge and Decision Making. France: OECD Publishing. 2001.
The author of the book is an organization. The information written does not therefore reflect views of individuals. It is therefore objective.
Moore Clement and Pomaska Anna. The Night before Christmas. U.S.A.: Courier Dover Publications, 2000.
Moore Clement has written several a lot of work including poems about Santus Claus and how he traveled visiting good children on the day before Christmas. This significantly affected how charismas were celebrated.
Siefker, Phyllis. Santa Claus myth came from the religious origins of Saint Nicolas. North Carolina: McFarland, 2006.
Siefker has conducted an intensive review about the origins and evolution of the idea of Saint Nicholas over a period a period of 50, 000 years.
Wernecke, Henry. Christmas customs around the world. U.S.A.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1959.
Wernecke has written about various customs around the world about Christmas. He has made a comparison of all these varying customs across different cultural backgrounds. He did a great work on Santus Claus.